SAN DIEGO — Prominent food poisoning attorney Bill Marler spoke with FOX 5 about a series of recent outbreaks and recalls in San Diego County on the heels of a E. coli outbreak at a popular restaurant that left dozens sick.
“For a one restaurant E. Coli outbreak, it’s actually quite large and we haven’t seen outbreaks of that size at one restaurant for quite some time,” said Marler.
The outbreak at Miguel’s Cocina in 4S Ranch infected at least 35, leading to 10 hospitalizations and one death.
Marler believes the next steps in the lawsuits and investigation will be centered on which food product was the culprit. While meat was a common cause at the beginning of his career spanning three decades, he says that’s no longer the case.
“Now, where were seeing it is in cilantro, parsley, sprouts, other leafy greens, and that is really where consumers need to focus their attention,” he explained. “It’s where the risks are for restaurants, grocery stores and consumer products.”
A recent raw milk recall involving Fresno-based Raw Farm LLC caused 12 cases of Salmonella in San Diego County, according to health officials. Three of those cases were children who needed to be hospitalized.
Now, Marler is representing some who got sick both in San Diego and in Orange County.
“Raw milk is just a really known risk. If you’re an adult drinking it go ahead take the risk, but please consider not allowing, especially small children to drink it,” Marler said.
The CDC cautions those who consume raw milk, as it has not undergone the process of pasteurization that kills disease-causing germs.
Aside from milk, salmonella has been connected to cantaloupe in several states, including California. A recall has been issued from all Malichita brand whole cantaloupes, Vinyard brand pre cut cantaloupes, and Aldi whole and pre-cut cantaloupe.
“The thing about cantaloupe is they’re very hard to clean and if they’re contaminated when you cut into it, the bacteria gets into the flesh of the cantaloupe and that’s how you get sick,” said Marler.
So far, 43 salmonella cases have been reported as a result of the outbreak spread by cantaloupe and 17 people have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.
“All of the people are with the same genetic fingerprint of salmonella, so we know they are all connected to each other, and I unfortunately think this outbreak is going to get larger,” said Marler.
According to the CDC, roughly 3,000 people die each year due to foodborne illness. The groups who are the most at risk are young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.